Week 1- Hallowing Time

The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Read and Reflect

This week, read the prologue and chapter 1 of The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel.

As you read, reflect:

God did three things on the seventh day of creation: He rested, He blessed, and He hallowed the seventh day. God did not do nothing on that day; He created a space of time for man to rest in Him. “The love of the Sabbath,” says Abraham Heschel, “is the love of man for what man and God have in common.”

What if we thought about the fourth commandment as an invitation rather than a command? How would that change our understanding of Sabbath?

Heschel says that “things, when magnified, are forgeries of happiness, a threat to our very lives.”

What things in particular are forgeries in your life?

“The seventh day is a mine where spirit’s precious metal can be found with which to construct the palace in time, a dimension in which the human is at home with the divine,” says Heschel.

When are you most at home with the divine? Not where, when?

“The soul cannot celebrate alone, so the body must be invited to partake in the rejoicing of the Sabbath.”

How do you do that?

Closing Poem

by Wendell Berry

from This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems

Times will come as they must,
by necessity or his wish, when he leaves
his enclosure and his window,
his homescape of house and garden,
barn and pasture, the incarnate life
of his desire, thought, and daily work.
His grazing animals look up
to watch in silence as he departs.
he sets out at times without even
a path or any guidance other than knowledge
of the place and himself as they were
in time already past. He goes among trees,
climbing again the one hill of his life.
With his hand full of words he goes
into the wordless, wording it barely
in time as he passes. One by one he places
words, balancing on each
as on a small stone in the swift flow
in his anxious patience until
the next arrives, until he has come
at last again into presentiment
of the real, the wholly real in its grand
composure, for which as before
he knows no word. And here again
he must stop. Here by luck or grace he may
find rest, which he has been seeking
all along. sometimes by the times’s flaws
and his own, he fails. And then
by luck or grace he will be given
another day to try again, to go maybe
yet farther before again he must stop.
He is a gatherer of fragments, a cobbler
of pieces. Piece by piece he tells
a story without end, for in the time
of this world no end can come.
It is the story of eternity’s shining,
much shadowed, much put off,
in time. And, time, however long, falls short. 

More resources about Sabbath

Like most of us, when Sister Joan Chittister was growing up, celebrating Sabbath meant dutifully going to Church on Sunday. Then she met a rabbi who showed her what it really means by putting away his pen. Read the reflection here. https://joanchittister.org/word-from-joan/what-sunday-about

Back to contents entire study.